Climate Council Warns Australia to Brace for More Raging Bushfires, Longer Heatwaves

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By Reissa Su | December 9, 2013 7:20 PM EST

The Climate Council has warned Australia to prepare for more frequent and intense bushfires. The council, which was formerly funded by the Australian government before Prime Minister Tony Abbott scrapped the body, will release its report concerning the risks of bushfires.

The Climate Council's chief Tim Flannery said that although bushfires in Australia are nothing new, there was a growing possibility that more will happen in the future. Mr Flannery said climate change will increase the risk of frequent bushfires.

He said many people have lost their lives. Property and infrastructure have been damaged because of bushfires. According to the Climate Council's report, people need to understand the risks of climate change to prepare for the future.

The report also revealed that southeast and southwest of Australia is getting hotter because of climate change. The Climate Council report also predicted sustained and frequent heat waves lasting through March and October in the coming years.

Mr Flannery said Australia must prepare especially communities prone to bushfires, emergency service personnel and health workers.

Year 2013 declared one of the warmest years

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has declared 2013 as among the top 10 warmest years on record since 1850. The rising sea levels due to climate change have aggravated the effect of strong cyclones like Typhoon Haiyan that left the Philippines overwhelmed and under a state of calamity.

According to WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere meant warmer temperatures in the future and more extreme weather. In climate change talks with almost 200 representatives from nations around the world, he said the first nine months of 2013 tied with the first nine months of 2003 with average global land and ocean surface temperature of over 48 degrees Celsius.

Aside from Typhoon Haiyan, other extreme weather disturbances include the record-breaking heat waves in Australia, leading climate scientists to suspect recent NSW bushfires were enhanced by climate change. The floods experienced in Sudan to Europe were also believed to be aggravated by climate change and rising global temperatures, according to the WMO.

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